Style Travels: Miami Design District

As a trend spotter and style influencer my travels take me to interesting locations. The intent of these " trend trips " is to scope out things that inspire me, where my senses tell me something new is percolating, and I feel I'm in the midst of a compelling experience.

 I was graciously invited by friends of mine to  Ft Lauderdale to indulge in good food, great drink and luxurious relaxation. Believe me, I know I'm blessed to make the crowded and desirous guest list. A day at the beach was not on our short weekend itinerary, since I'm not a sun worshipper, let's face it, those that know me well might say I border on being a member of the vampire community!  As my hosts are about as accommodating as anyone could imagine, they put together a surprise Saturday jaunt that was one of those special afternoons where my trend tentacles were in full force!

Our road trip took us to The Miami Design District; a neighborhood dedicated to innovative fashion, design, architecture and dining experiences. The bold brainchild of visionary entrepreneur Craig Robins and L Real Estate. Upon arrival I was blown away. I guess I expected the typical high end designer boutique shopping districts I had visited countless times as part of my career as a professional trend executive within corporate America...
Paris, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, been there, done that... Not to sound blase' but I've traveled extensively for work, and have probably become somewhat callused to the whole luxury brand scene. That's why my visceral reaction to The Miami Design District is so profound. It's truly incredible, and basically in our backyard!

I never expected to see such an extensive portfolio of luxury brands presented in such a significant brick and mortar presence. Especially in today's retail landscape where all you read is statistic after statistic of the growing decay and disappearance of actual stores fronts and the meteoric momentum of E- commerce. And I'm telling you, these stores are magnificent. The building materials, the architecture, the dedication of space, and serious inventory is a sight to be seen. These are not pop up shops to appease the fashion few, these are true monuments to the art of fashion and design. The genius of this compelling business model is its vision for a rejuvenated master plan - responsive to its historic, urban and tropical context. It embodies a singular dedication to the intersection of design, fashion, art, and architecture, and a commitment to nurture a neighborhood comprised of creative experiences. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?!

While I was seduced by each and every store entrance, and their " come hither " windows, there are some of my faves that are always must stops peppered with new shops that surprise and delight. Tom Ford's 3 story masterpiece was tons of fun where I playfully tried on his signature open back zipper dress. The Hermes corner store where my friend Jeff purchased the best summer pants ever; periwinkle patterned that are screaming to be teamed with a crisp white shirt. Chrome Hearts with the unique and precious maison Laduree' right in the center. What a sweet lovers treat. I had no idea Laduree' was the first tea salon in Paris, founded in 1862. On to Lanvin, Emilio Pucci, St Laurent, just to name a few. Our last stop was Internum and Design a contemporary furniture showroom featuring Italian design... need I say more.

We lunched at Harry's Pizzeria, a casual neighborhood joint, toasted to Jeff and Peter ( our quintessential hosts )and recounted what a perfect day it had been. I can't wait to go back... I hear Isabel Marant is opening soon!